One more in the Pakistan-bashing brigade, Bhuj: The Pride Of India begins with a short, highly simplistic lesson in history. And then the “evil head” of Pakistan rises, tripping over all the constant janaab-ing.
The film is inspired by the true story of Pakistan’s attack on the Bhuj airbase during the 1971 war. Ajay Devgn plays Squadron Leader Vijay Karnik, the commanding officer of the Bhuj airbase. After the attack, to stop the advance of the Pakistani army in Kutch, Karnik has to have the runway repaired as soon as possible. Enter local village strongwoman Sunderben, played by Sonakshi Sinha, who has the hammiest introduction seen in recent times.
Sanjay Dutt plays Pagi Ranchhod, a self-righteous R&AW agent. Joining him in spydom is Nora Fatehi who plays Heena Rehman. She becomes a highly unconvincing spy embedded in Pakistan to avenge her brother’s death. Ammy Virk is perhaps the only one who is kinda believable in his role as Vikram Singh Baj, a fighter pilot.
Bhuj (certainly not the pride of India) is all over the place. Most of the film plays out like a propaganda montage against Pakistan. Your patriotism is constantly evoked but you don’t really know why. Religion is thrown in your face and, again, you don’t really know why. You’re told to hate the pure evil Pakistani janaabs but anyone with half a brain can only sigh at the attempt. Characters are introduced and killed off within minutes, and storylines are all mixed up. And the references to Mughals, Marathas, and wars from hundreds of years ago are just as senseless as you think.
Terribly hammy acting and embarrassingly bad graphics bring what could have been a truly inspirational film to the ground. The actual story behind this film is amazing by itself, it did not need all this needless drama to sell. I mean, if you’re saying a bomb is so powerful that it can shred you to pieces, you cannot, in the next scene, have a guy calmly walk away from the explosion of the same ‘deadly’ bomb. Without any protective gear, of course. But then, these folks are also landing planes on trucks, so pretty much anything is possible.
Overall, this film is a disaster. Watch it if you want unintended laughs and some cringe. Till then, we can only pray that Bollywood learns how to make a decent war film soon.